Professor Shigeru Asaba, Dean of Waseda Business School (Graduate School of Business and Finance)
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) joined with the Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI) to co-host a seminar held on January 30, 2017 that was entitled "Trends in Japan's Overseas Direct Investment and a New Phase of Global Competition."*1
The seminar welcomed around 140 participants, including ambassadors and ministers from a number of embassies in Tokyo. The seminar opened with remarks from JOI President (Chief Executive Officer) Junichi Kondo, after which Shin Oya, Deputy Director General of Policy and Strategy Office for Financial Operations, JBIC, gave a briefing on "Outlook for Japanese Foreign Direct Investment (the result of "FY2016 Survey Report on Overseas Business Operation by Japanese Manufacturing Companies")", followed by a presentation on "A New Phase of Global Competition" by Professor Shigeru Asaba, Dean of Waseda Business School (Graduate School of Business and Finance).
As Oya of JBIC noted, the survey results showed that the overseas production and overseas sales ratios of respondent companies remain in an uptrend, that India was once again, as in the 2015 survey, deemed as the country most promising for medium-term business development. Other Asian countries occupied the top spots on this list of most-promising countries, with the scale and growth potential of their markets having become even more important factors. With regard to specific topics, Oya explained that many respondents had identified greater vulnerability to exchange risk as an issue affecting their supply chains, and that numerous companies had expressed the intent to increase their overall budgets for R&D bases in Japan, although a closer look by industry sector reveals that automotive-related companies are even more likely to increase their budgets at European and American bases than at Japanese locations.
Professor Asaba discussed new issues facing Japanese companies looking to expand overseas, offering examples of Japanese companies that had successfully adapted locally and citing the results of this year's questionnaire survey to show that, of the challenges pertaining to the aforementioned promising countries for medium-term business development, "intense competition with other companies" had a higher response rate. In particular, he asserted the need for Japanese companies to have business strategies which differentiate themselves from competitors, thereby maintaining or expanding their global market share. This is supported by the fact that in their home market of Asia, the sales growth rate of Japanese companies is lower than that of Western firms as well as Chinese and other Asian firms. He also stressed the importance of head office involvement with regard to intellectual property and personnel matters.
JBIC will continue using opportunities such as this to share information useful to companies expanding overseas.
- *1The seminar program is available at the "Seminars" page on the JOI website.